#AltRightMeans Trends On Twitter: What Does ‘Alt-Right’ Mean, And Does Alt-Right Now Control Donald Trump Campaign?

In a speech in Reno, Nevada, today, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton condemned her Republican opponent Donald Trump for allowing the “alt-right,” which Clinton described as a “fringe movement,” to effectively “take over the Republican Party.”

“Mrs. Clinton is seeking to describe the ‘alt-right’ to a national audience that may have little familiarity with it,” the New York Times wrote, in an account of the speech.

Watch an MSNBC preview of the Hillary Clinton “alt-right” speech in the following video.

The entire speech delivered on August 25 by Hillary Clinton at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, can be viewed in the video below.

Indeed, the term “alt-right,” while it may be well-known in certain corners of the political internet, is likely not widely understood among the general public. As a result, Twitter users by the hundreds on Thursday attempted to define the term, causing the hashtag #AltRightMeans to trend on the social media microblogging site. The hashtag reached number two on Twitter globally.

Most of the voluminous quantity of Twitter postings, however, were more interested in defining the term “alt-right” from the point of view of either a “pro” or “anti” bias.

But generally, the term alt-right is tied to a philosophy known as “white nationalism,” the belief that white people comprise their own “nation” that should be kept all-white. Hillary Clinton emphasized the connections between the alt-right movement and traditional white supremacist movements in a new campaign ad, released ahead of her Thursday speech, and seen in the Twitter posting below.

The San Jose Mercury News offered the following definition of the alt-right.

“‘Alt-right’ is short for ‘alternative right,’ to distinguish the movement from mainstream conservatism. There’s no one way to define its ideology, but it is often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve ‘white identity,’ oppose multiculturalism and defend ‘Western values.’ Adherents say those values are increasingly under attack with the rise of racial minorities in the U.S. and as the left pushes ‘political correctness.’ Some adherents sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Europeanists’ or ‘white nationalists,’ rejecting the labels of racist and white supremacist. Some want to curb or block immigration to the U.S.; others would remove minorities from the country.”

White “nationalists” often deny that they are “white supremacists,” because they insist that they simply believe white people should be separated from blacks and other minorities, rather than claiming that whites are inherently superior.

However, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the distinction between “white nationalists” and “white supremacists” — people and groups who believe that white people are inherently superior to other “races” and therefore should rightfully rule over blacks, minorities, and nonwhites in general — is largely meaningless.

“White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of non-whites,” wrote the SPLC, which is the country’s leading private organization for monitoring hate groups and movements.

“These groups range from those that use racial slurs and issue calls for violence to others that present themselves as serious, non-violent organizations and employ the language of academia,” the SPLC says on its site.

#AltRightMeans is an excuse for people to spew out racist and sexist slurs disguised as American politics. Disgusting.

— adam (@mrdrawerguy) August 25, 2016

The conservative news and opinion site Breitbart is generally viewed as the most popular forum for alt-right coverage and ideology in the media — and Donald Trump last week appointed Breitbart chief executive Steve Bannon as the new CEO of his presidential campaign. In fact, Bannon has publicly described Breitbart as “a platform for the alt-right.”

Bannon, however, denied in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that the alt-right is necessarily a racist uprising, saying instead that it is a “nationalist” movement.

In the same interview, Bannon compared the alt-right to France’s National Front party — the founder of which, Jean Marie Le Pen, was actually prosecuted in France on a charge of “inciting racial hatred.”


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In an article explaining the alt-right to a general audience on Thursday, CNN described alt-right as “an ideology steeped in white nationalism, misogyny and anti-Semitism.”

Though Donald Trump himself, with his hiring of Bannon, has elevated the alt-right to a national stage, he lashed back at Hillary Clinton on Thursday, saying that her speech accused “decent Americans who support this campaign, your campaign, of being racists, which we’re not.”

[Featured Photo By John Moore / Getty Images]